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Printed photos/art looks horrible but great on computer!?

So I go and put tons of my photos and digital art on my sd card and take it to Rite-aid to print out. When they are all done (and $40 later) they look like crap! Nothing like how they did on here. The editing of the phones and all of the digital work was done with adobe photoshop cs3. Any idea why there is such a big difference and how i might change this? It worries me because i have some of them set up to buy on deviant art and im hoping the prints they send out arent as bad. Maybe it is RiteAid's crappy printer? Any help would be great! Thanks!


Well the card I have is 4gb and i always use 8mp settings on the camera. The jpeg editing and data loss i had no clue about so thanks for that. i will try that!

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    The most likely problem is that you were using low resolution settings for your images.

    Did you use settings when taking photos to get as many images on the card as you could? If you did, you made a basic mistake: the more images you try to get on a card, the lower the overall quality will be. You ALWAYS want to take your photos at the highest quality settings possible. Your computer screen displays at about 72 dpi (dots per inch), that's the standard resolution for images that are ONLY going to be displayed on screen. You cannot enlarge a 72 dpi image to a reasonable print size and expect it to look good because all you are doing is making the dots (pixels) bigger. Memory cards are relatively cheap: buy a couple of 2 GB or 4 GB cards and you can get a lot of images on them without worrying about space.

    When you say you put "tons of my photos and digital art on my sd card" it sounds like you did exactly that: made the files small enough to cram lots of them on the card. So the result is you have lots of low quality small files on the card.

    When you are editing things in Photoshop, make sure you also have good resolution settings. If you are changing image sizes, make sure you preserve the resolution at about 300 dpi. And remember, again, that if you are starting with a low resolution image, you cannot make it into a high resolution image.

    Standard rule: start out with high quality large files. You can ALWAYS remove data, but you CAN'T add in data that isn't there already.

    Another standard rule: open your file. Immediately do a SAVE AS (call it whatever you want, maybe FileName_working or FileName_Rev1). That way you don't mess up your original, you are always working on a copy.

    Another standard rule: do NOT edit JPEGs. Jpegs use what is called a "lossy" compression method. That means that everytime you open, edit and resave that file, it throws away some data. Eventually the image quality degrades. Again, when you do the SAVE AS, change the file type to Photoshop. (.psd). Work in the native Photoshop file type (which also gives you access to all the cool stuff Photoshop can do). When you are done, if you need to save as a JPEG, do a SAVE AS again and select the JPEG file type. That way you are keeping the Photoshop file as well, which means you can easily go back later and do more editing.

    Hope this helps.

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  • AJ
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    My guess is that you have created your art work at too low a resolution (under 100 pixels per inch - ppi) as a general rule for printing you would need to create artwork at a minimum of 300ppi but always check with the printer first. The reason they look great on your monitor is that a monitor only displays at 76-92 ppi


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  • 1 decade ago

    The main cause for this is uncalibrated workspace. That is, you must setup your printer and display to represent the same colors. there are utilities in photoshop for this; try them. if you printed them at home, then try calibrating the workspace. If you took the prints from a color lab, then just tell them, they might do the fixing work.. ;)

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  • 1 decade ago

    bad place to get the work done the chemicals were not cleanand the system was not caibrated proplery make them do it over or go to snapshot from hp there great and 1st 12 or are free check them out there really great

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